Gluten-Free Blueberry Banana Bread

Hi friends! I’m just popping in to share an easy recipe that my son and I made together yesterday. It was easy to prepare & very tasty. Perfect when paired with a cup of tea or coffee.

The only reason I made it in the first place is because we had a lot of very ripe bananas and the store had a wonderful sale on blueberries.


Continue reading “Gluten-Free Blueberry Banana Bread”


Struggling with Body Dysmorphia

Years ago, I watched a video about a girl struggling with anorexia. She looked in the mirror and saw that she was a chubby, overweight girl. When the camera panned out, it showed that she was actually just skin and bones.

I felt bad for her, but I didn’t connect to the video on a personal level. “The difference is that I’m actually fat,” I said to myself.

At a healthy 180 pounds (for my tall statue), I stopped eating because I was thought I was fat. I not only struggled with anorexia, binge-eating, and general restricting, I also struggled with body dysmorphia like the girl in the video and I didn’t even know it.

At 160 pounds, my skinniest, fitting into a size medium, I’d look in the mirror and think I was 100 pounds heavier than I was. My calorie intake was extremely small and I’d try on clothes at least one size too big and I’d buy the next size up from that because I felt so fat and when I looked in the mirror, the clothes literally looked tight on me.

Now that I’ve gained some weight back, I’m probably a size 14 and L/XL, but I pick out clothes that are 2x or 16/18. I know other people notice, like my husband and sister-in-law encourage me to wear clothes that aren’t so baggy, but I can’t. It’s so unbelievably difficult.

My struggle with body dysmorphia limits how much I can enjoy things. Some days, I feel great. Other days, I want to peel my skin off because I am so uncomfortable. I can’t wear tighter fitting clothes on those days or I feel I can’t breath and end up in a crying fit in the bathroom. On really bad days, I’ve even ripped the clothes off my body because they felt so tight, but they weren’t.

My husband doesn’t understand and is shocked when I point out a person or celebrity that I believe is the same size as me. “Samantha, she’s easily 50 pounds heavier than you,” he said one night when I said I was the same size as the mom on American Housewife. I’m looking at photos of her as I write this and I still think I’m the same size as her. I also think I am the same size as Ashley Graham, Adele, Ana Laura (model), Melissa McCarthy, etc. while I’m realistically related to the size of celebrities like Christina Hendricks…or honestly, it’s hard for me to even accurately judge some days.

I’m not the only one, it turns out it’s pretty common and most women suffer from some form of body dysmorphia. It can be something as small as picking a part of your body you dislike and focusing on it obsessively.

I do my best, but I try to not think about it or not focus on clothes or fashion or look in the mirror too long, or look at photos of myself because it’s easy to get triggered and fall into an unhealthy pattern.

My family is doing a healthy living weight-loss challenge and that’s been an emotional struggle all on its own.

I know it started in my past, my growing brain being trained by an abuser to think I was bigger than I was; obsessing over my size while I was in elementary school. Most days I don’t have hope that I’ll ever escape this. Other days, I have faith that God will help bring me out of this mindset and realize that I am his masterpiece, perfectly designed.

I have no words to wrap up my post today, no bible verses, or happy ending of me overcoming this, because it’s so constant. I imagine what I go through can be relatable to AA/NA. Once you have an eating disorder, you always have an eating disorder.

My First Book Signing Event

A book signing is an important part of publishing a book, but most authors don’t realize that they are not only the writers, but the salesmen. Promoting a book is hard work and when I was asked to join the Threshold’s annual author event, I spent weeks preparing. Here’s a little look into the event that happened yesterday.


Have You Been #ScammedbyMaayan?

Raise your hand if you have been personally victimized by Maayan Atias-Golbus.

Quite a few women have come forward, raising their hands and starting a movement, #scammedbymaayan

Maayan, an illustrator/artist, has allegedly scammed quite a few women – offering services and either not providing the product clients paid for or delivering work that wasn’t what clients expected.

I don’t usually write exposès on this type of thing because it’s just not my thing and frankly, I’m not interested in jumping into online drama. However, I felt drawn to this story because I had personally encountered Mayaan online.

Like many women in my field, I am a part of several Facebook groups to connect with like-minded ladies and increase traffic to our websites. In early this spring, I was scrolling through Facebook when I came across a post by Maayan on one of the groups I had joined. She offered to illustrate portraits for cheap and honestly, I was really interested. I thought the work was cute for the price ($27). I only passed due to financial reasons and I saw that her post had dozens of women interested Maayan creating digital artwork for them.

Though I moved on, within the next few weeks, Maayan had infiltrated every group I was in. Her posts were everywhere in my newsfeed and I thought, “Woah, this girl is persistent. Good for her! She obviously found a market.” The only problem was, she posted the exact same things in each group and it just set off a few red flags for me.

When I did a little research, looking up her name in each group, I found a pattern that spanned back all the way to at least 2016.

In each group, she’d post about her services. Then, she’d write a post about struggling with figuring out a good price point, followed by dozens of posts giving excuses on why she’s struggling to work with clients (she’s sick, busy, clients are “ghosting” her, etc). I felt really weary of her and made a mental note to avoid working with her.

Here is one of the posts she shared in dozens of groups:

I noticed two things from this particular post.

  1. Her work in this particular profile illustration has been “on sale” for $27 for ages. In each group she posted in, decent time between each post, the posts were exactly like this. I assume the posts were often like this because groups often have a “No Marketing” rule, so this way she’d be able to fish for customers without actually violating the rule.
  2. She clearly states it takes her 45 minutes to make but after a client called her out on not providing the product on time, Maayan claimed it took up to 10 days for her to make it. If only she was as consistent in doing the actual work than she was at finding clients.

Let’s fast-forward to the beginning of May, when I stumble on a major Facebook group thread about her on a blogging business group. A member of the group claimed that Maayan was a huge scammer and presented proof all the way back to 2016. Here is what she said…

“…I first noticed Maayan when she was posting in The Rising Tide Society. At the time, she was operating under the business alias Olive + Orchid, creating large calligraphy pieces (and cross-posting them to Girls LOVE Travel®), and started making “Meet the Artist” pieces (little biographical pieces).

It seemed like she got “overwhelmed” by work (or went on vacation, or “got sick”) and failed to produce content for people, DESPITE taking their money. A lot of people ended upcoming forward in RTS about her, realizing what had been happening, and in early 2017 she got herself banned.

Apparently, girl didn’t learn a lesson after being banned from a 75k group, and KEPT GOING (1).

I missed a lot of scamming between mid-2017 and now, so I’m just gonna focus on the present (though past evidence should be enough).

I’ve been noticing Maayan again lately because she apparently rebranded (aka had to start a new page, after her old Olive + Orchid brand was taken down by being reported) as Tiburon Design, and now does 10 minute illustrations instead of calligraphy.

I thought, ok MAYBE girl is making a fresh start and trying to put all her scamming ways behind her, but GUESS NOT. I noticed she was getting pushy about her services and claiming people were “ghosting” her, when really, her aggressive tactics probably set off potential clients ~spidey senses~. The post has since been deleted from the group (gotta cover up that paper trail, but ya know, internet never forgets and all), but essentially a lot of people commented that she was going a little too aggro messaging them, and it made them think twice.

She claimed that she was behaving in this manner because she had a $2k bill she suddenly had to pay, but then….I guess shopping with all the money people had paid her for SKINCARE, TIFFANY’S, and visiting Wizarding World at UNIVERSAL was more important than actually CREATING the products people had paid for.

In the last two days, I’ve noticed a post in The LadyGang go up about someone who was scammed by her, and been added to a fb group chat with at least a DOZEN people who have been scammed, including people who have had Maayan attack their businesses when they tried to get refunds issued.

PLEASE, take your business elsewhere if you’ve been considering purchasing any of her supposed artwork or branding packages, issue a chargeback for your payment, and spread the word. There are a lot of hardworking illustration artists who are willing to put in the time and create quality pieces for you, but this is probably not one of them.”

After reading the claims, I felt bad for the victims, but since I wasn’t personally invested in this drama, I didn’t want to get involved. While Maayan was still a part of that group when the claims were made, she made her own post, apologizing and hoping to correct any issues clients had. Members of the group used the opportunity to explain to her that she needs to focus on changing how she handles her business and many expressed their concern that Maayan wasn’t genuinely sorry – apologizing just because she got called out. Maayan deleted the post and by the end of the day, she was no longer a part of the group.

Fast forward, again, to this week (June), and as I’m aimlessly scrolling Facebook before bed, I see Maayan post her services on my favorite girl squad group. This group has been so amazing, so many talented women supporting each other and I couldn’t bear to see anyone get scammed.

I messaged Maayan to try to politely hint that I was aware of the rumors about how she did business and how I believed in second chances. Maayan played dumb and blocked me, so I messaged the few ladies who commented on the original post, letting them know of the claims toward Maayan.

The members I messaged were happy I had said something, but I was little too late for one woman who had already paid Maayan and was still waiting for her product to be emailed even though she was told she’d get it right away. It was in that moment, with certainty, that Maayan wasn’t going to stop and she had used all the chances in the world unable to learn her lesson.

After the year I’ve had (some of you may know), I’m so done with staying quiet and letting people like Maayan take advantage of unsuspecting women. I didn’t want to start a witch-hunt or anything, I just wanted people to know what was going on, but before I tried to take down Maayan, I had to do my own research to make sure that scams were really going on.

During my in-depth research, I noticed Maayan was often super agressive, snarky, and just downright unprofessional with potential clients and current clients who were asking what was going on with their work. When she would ask for advice in her posts, she’d bite the heads off any one offering feedback (which makes me wonder why she continued to ask for help, if she didn’t accept any of it).

This is when I came across the #scammedbymaayan movement. A woman in 2017, Brocha, publicly claimed that Maayan was horrid to work with…

“Today Maayan Atias-Golbus refused to refund me money for a project I hired her for. A project that was not finished in its completion by the time she said it would be. I was strung along for a month, but she said the first drafts would be ready within a few days. I was super patient until things didn’t add up anymore and I started saying I’ll go elsewhere. Then she sent me a half-ass project by the deadline I finally insisted she follow. (Also while checking in constantly and getting a million excuses). I did not get what I had asked for and when I asked her to refund me she refused and said she doesn’t do that. Please do not ever shop by her, she is a scam and a thief!”

A month later, Brocha shared another post about #scammedbymaayan

“Maayan Golbus is continuing to scam people. I know this because they keep reaching out to me. Same story for each person. I still haven’t gotten my money back. The only way she would do so is if I signed a NDA about what she did to me, and that would never happen.”

Brocha copied her conversations with Maayan and put it on a Google Doc for everyone to read if they wanted to. I had the pleasure of reading it as well and basically, this is what went down…

Starting October 17th, the order between Brocha and Maayan is placed. October 24th, Maayan asks for Brocha’s email to send an invoice – saying she’ll do as many revisions as needed for the work being ordered. On October 27th, Brocha asks for an update and Maayan said her iPad died but she’ll get a draft out that day. On October 28th, Brocha reaches out, wondering if Maayan has the draft ready. Maayan asks for 20 minutes to send it. On October 29th, Maayan said it would be done sometime that week. On November 6th , Maayan claimed her email wasn’t working and it was done. After a few more days, Brocha is getting tired of the excuses and politely asks for the project to be completed. Maayan apologized, saying her brain was fried and asked for Brocha to message her later because she was at physical therapy. Then, Maayan claimed her screen broke but she’ll send the drafts when she gets home. She then claimed the last few weeks have been crazy with her chemo treatments. A few days after this, Brocha continues to remind Maayan about sending her the draft and eventually promises to send it or give a refund. Maayan started to give off more excuses and rambled about the work not being a JPEG…and while the end of the conversation is a little confusing, Brocha ends up dissatisfied and out of money she paid Maayan.

As Brocha shared her story, women started to come forward claiming they had the same issues with Maayan and were given every single excuse in the book for why they weren’t receiving their product, aside from “my dog ate it”. A private group was formed for the women who were unhappy with Maayan’s services and there was suggestions to report her to the FBI for fraud or take her to small claims court.

That wouldn’t be possible as of yet, because while assuming she uses her actual name, no one can pinpoint her location. While sources lead to a Chicago address, she’s been connected to Florida, Texas, LA, San Rafael, a religious seminary in England, and Israel.

In addition to Brocha’s statement, here are a few more shared by victims of Maayan:

MC: I ordered a portrait few weeks ago, and after waiting for a week and a half, I had to request the money back. It was a bummer because I really wanted the portrait, but at least I got my money back! I believed that she was sick (that’s what she told me). First two days, then a week, then I had to extend it for two more days because she had hurt her wrist. After the last two days, still no product.

MM: I ordered a logo from her and what I got back is not what I asked for. But she made me pay before delivering the final product.

CG: I felt bad for her after reading her posts and ordered an illustration…After a week I realized she hadn’t even asked me for my photo or anything so I sent her one and haven’t heard of her since then

JT: I purchased two illustrations from her after her post in this group. I was told I’d get them in a week, then 10 days, then she had ‘errands’ and an ‘allergy attack’ then ‘physio’. After chasing her every day for two weeks she delivered one very poor quality illustration and was super aggressive about my dissatisfaction. In the end I asked for a refund and she returned half my money and I haven’t seen the rest. I’ve had to write it off. I’ve never felt like such a burden to anyone in my life just trying to get a product I ordered!

Anonymous: “I paid Maayan for a rebranding package. About a week in I realized how awful she was. She hadn’t yet sent me anything so I asked for a refunded. She said she couldn’t afford to. Things went downhill From there. What she gave me was awful and nothing like I wanted. She even put my wrong business name on many of the items. She wouldn’t fix the things she messed up. Finally I filed a charge back with my bank. When she realized I did that she had everyone she knows pubically attack my business. 24 hours a day for 3 days. I literally stayed up all date and night to delete her slanderous posts as soon as she made them. I finally caved and cancelled my charge back to save my business from her posts.”

JA: I made the HUGE mistake of hiring her

EH:  I bought a design from her and have yet to receive it.

AB: I ordered from her and she told me a turn around time would be a week. When a week came & gone, I pretty much messaged her every day & it was always something. She spent all day in the airport, her gmail wouldn’t let her send emails, etc. It was extremely frustrating considering I already paid her. It was also extremely frustrating seeing her posts asking for more clients when she hadn’t even finished the ones she had. I finally got my image and she did a good job on it but since I had to work so hard to get what I paid for, I probably won’t invest in something like it again.

While it’s clear Maayan has several angry customers, there are a few testimonials from clients who received their product and were mostly satisfied…

MG: Honestly, I had a okay experience with her. After seeing people post about her scamming them I got scared that I would be scammed too. I messaged her and was very polite about the matter and asked when it would be done and she had it to me the next day. Yes it took a while and I had to pester her, but I think she means well but she doesn’t handle herself in a professional manner and that’s her problem.

KL: Her illustrations are excellent. Don’t knock her for her work…I was extremely impressed.

AC: I’m obsessed. She gave me something I didn’t know how to articulate, but was exactly what I wanted.

I looked into the excuses Maayan has given and I’m not able to confirm anything, but it honestly doesn’t matter. Overall, Maayan is an extremely unprofessional business owner who makes excuses for her poor relationship with clients and general consistency in product delivery. She seems to have way too much on her plate, considering her admitting that over and over again. She seems to dabble in a lot and if she worked the business correctly, she could be very successful because she really has talent. She was an illustrator for a cute little book, sells stickers on RedBubble (under her old business name, Olive and Orchid), has a photography page, uses Twitter regularly, along with Instagram, she has two Facebook accounts, and claims she’s going to medical school.

While she has a few loyal customers defending her, many are extremely upset and have started the #scammedbymaayan movement. Many are sick of seeing Maayan get away with what she’s doing and hope to put a stop to it.

Maayan, if you’re reading this, I think it would be in everyone’s interests if you stepped back from your duties as an illustrator/calligrapher/artist. Reassess. Get your live in order. Don’t delete everything and come out rebranded next week. If you continue to do this, your clients will have no choice but to take the next steps.

Whether or not Maayan can be stopped, we can use this as a lesson.

  1. Do your research before buying services with anyone – you can find a lot of information and reviews just by searching Facebook and Instagram.
  2. Pay for the product after it’s made, or do a 50/50 agreement.

And advice to fellow business owners? If you have taken on too many clients, fall behind due to reasons beyond your control, or just find yourself overwhelmed, do yourself and the clients a favor by messaging each of them with an explanation, an extended timeline for you to complete the work, and offer a refund to any client who doesn’t want to wait.

If you have had a negative experience with Maayan, please come forward.

And to help us get the word out, feel free to share this post and use #scammedbymaayan

Gluten & Dairy-Free Lasagna

Living a gluten-free, dairy-free life has really put a damper on my relationship with food. Except a few weeks ago when I found no-boil gluten free lasagna noodles (internal screaming)!

I played around with the recipe a little, but it was extremely tasty. I did use goat cheese, so it’s not technically “dairy free”, more like “cow free”, but you can easily substitute the cheese with some vegan cheese or just not use any at all.


  • Barilla Gluten-Free Lasagna Noodles
  • 1 pound ground turkey, cooked & drained
  • 1 cup frozen shredded kale
  • 1 large can tomato sauce
  • 2 yellow peppers, diced and skillet cooked until soft
  • 1 package goat cheese
  • 2 tablespoons oregeno
  • 1 tablespoon basil
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Mix spices with tomato sauce
  3. Using a 9×13 pan, layer noodles, sauce, meat, veggies, and cheese. Repeat until you either run out of items or the pan is filled.
  4. Now, here is my tip…the noodles did not come out that great when I made this the first time. They were still crunchy despite covering them with lots of sauce. So, I boiled mine just for a minute or two to get the process started, then made sure to slather them in sauce. They must be covered completely.
  5. Cover with foil and bake for 45 minutes.
  6. Enjoy!

What’s In My Make-Up Bag?

Makeup never used to be something I used in my daily life because I didn’t see the point. For one, the women around me seemed to only use makeup to hide behind a face they were self-conscious about and I didn’t want to become one of those women. I also never wanted to put in the time and effort to get my face ready for the day.

Today, I’m still mostly makeup free but as I continue in my writing career, I want to present my best self. I’m confident in my natural state, but enjoy throwing on a little something here and there.

The following are all the products that I own, some I use on special occasions and some I use religiously.


  • Manna Kadar Priming Lipgloss Stain, All of Me, $24
  • Starlooks Lipstick, Jet Set, $12
  • Rimmel London Moisture Renew, Vintage Pink (sorry guys, this is no longer available)
  • Wet n Wild MegaLast Liquid Catsuit Matte Lipstick, Pink Really Hard * Berry Recognize *Rebel Rose * Nudist Peach, $4.99
  • Starlooks Lipstick, Rawr, $12
  • Maybelline Color Sensational Matte Lipstick, Blushing Pout, $5.59
  • Starlooks Lip Pencil, Peony, $12
  • Wet n Wild Megalast Lip Color, Dollhouse Pink, $2.49
  • Katy Perry Covergirl, Pink Paws, $3.19
  • Revlon Matte, Really Red, $5
  • Starlooks Lip Pencil, Dragon Fruit, $12


  • Starlooks Lengthening Mascara, $17
  • Chanel Les 4 Ombres Quadra Eye Shadow, Euphoria, $61
  • Wet n Wild Au Naturel Palette – Bare Necessities, $3.49
  • Color Icon Kohl Liner Pencil, $0.99
  • NYX Eyebrow Cake Powder, Dark Brown/Brown, $6
  • Starlooks Eye Liner Pencil, “Brun” “Noir“, $9
  • Maybelline Marbleized Eyeshadow, Bronze Blowout (unavailable)
  • Covergirl Lashblast Volume Mascara, $5.55
  • Sephora Eyeshadow, All That Glitters (unavailable)
  • Maybelline Expert Wear Eyeshadow, Earthly Taupe, $3.99
  • Starlooks Cream Eye Shadow, Concrete, $12


  • Wet n Wild Photofocus Foundation, Shell Ivory, $5.99
  • Wet n Wild Concealer, light ivory, $3.99
  • Starlooks Powder Blush, Darling, $12
  • Wet n Wild Photo Focus Matte Face Primer, $4.99
  • Mary Kay Translucent Loose Powder, $16
  • Mary Kay bronzing powder, light-medium, $18
  • Starlooks Cream Blush, Abstract, $12
  • Starlooks Blush/Highlighter Duo, Tropic/Ritz, $12


  • Clinique, Happy, $52
  • Thierry Mugler, Alien, $29
  • Natural Egyptian Queen of the Nile (bought locally)


  • SOHO Foundation brush (no longer available for purchase)
  • Beauty Blender, $20

My go-to items are all of the Wet N Wild products and the Starlooks Mascara & cream blush (which you can get 50% off your orders by using the code samxstarlooks)

What are the go-to beauty items you use?

Celebrating Katie Schmidt

We are continuing the “Celebrating Phenomenal Women” series with Katie Schmidt!

What a small world – Katie was my RA in college my freshman year. She was a kind, beautiful person inside and out who had dreams of becoming a teacher. Today, she’s changing the world as a teacher, small business owner, wife, & mom. When I first launched the nomination form, I secretly hoped someone would nominate her because she’s one busy entrepreneur!

Continue reading “Celebrating Katie Schmidt”